Linden Tea Benefits and Side Effects

Linden herbal tea

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Linden tea is an herbal tea, also called linden flower tea or linden leaf tea. Linden flowers and sometimes the inner bark of the linden tree have been used as a calming agent and sedative for hundreds of years. However, there isn't strong scientific evidence to support the medicinal use of linden tea or its ingredients.

What Is Linden Tea?

If you live in North America, you've probably seen neighborhood streets lined with linden trees. The tall, leafy, deciduous giants are common throughout the country but are also grown throughout Europe and Asia. Linden trees may live for up to 1,000 years. Linden leaves have a distinctive heart shape and the light yellow flowers are fragrant and delicate.

For hundreds of years, people have used parts of the linden tree, particularly the leaves, the flower, the wood, and the bark for medicinal purposes. Tinctures, teas, and other beverages may call for ingredients from one of two different linden trees: Tilia cordata, the small-leafed European linden (also known as a winter linden), or Tilia platyphyllos, also known as the summer linden.

Linden tea is popular not only for its medicinal uses but also for its agreeable taste. Linden flower tea can be consumed hot or cold and has a strong sweet and floral taste.

How to Make Linden Tea

Linden tea bags or loose leaf tea can be purchased in many grocery stores, health markets and online. Many large tea brands make linden flower tea.

If you choose not to use the store-bought variety, there are different ways to prepare linden tea at home. Most tea makers suggest using linden flower, although some recipes call for the bark or the leaves.

  • Place two to four tablespoons of dried linden flowers or leaves in the bottom of a teacup
  • Heat water to 90-95º Celsius or 194-205º Fahrenheit. If you don't have a temperature-controlled teapot, bring water to a boil and then let sit for a minute to reduce the temperature just slightly
  • Pour eight ounces of water over the tea leaves
  • Let tea leaves steep for as long as desired, up to 15 minutes
  • Strain loose leaves from the cup before drinking

You can also combine linden flower with other herbs to make hot or cold teas. You'll find online recipes for Linden Summertime Iced Tea and for Cool It Down and Relax Tea that combine herbs like elderflower and spearmint to enhance the flavor.

Does Linden Tea Contain Caffeine?

Linden tea is not a "tea" in the traditional sense and is not made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, like black tea or green tea. It is brewed just parts of the linden tree, which does not contain any caffeine. Therefore linden tea is completely caffeine-free.

Linden Tea Health Benefits

Anecdotal reports of linden tea benefits are widely promoted. Some believe that the herb can treat:

  • Anxiety
  • Sleeplessness
  • Indigestion
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Cold and flu symptoms
  • Allergies
  • Tense muscles
  • High blood pressure
  • Inflammation
  • Excessive sweating/perspiration
  • Vomiting

According to a report from the University of Michigan, the active ingredients in linden are flavonoids, glycosides (a compound formed from a simple sugar that is soluble in water), and possibly a volatile oil (also called "essential oils" or rapidly evaporating oils).

These ingredients have been shown to reduce anxiety in mice and some limited clinical trials have shown that the ingredients may relieve upset stomach, provide antispasmodic benefits (particularly in the intestines), relieve excess gas, and provide other benefits. But most experts agree that there is insufficient evidence to provide strong support for most linden tea health benefits in humans.

Linden Tea Side Effects

Linden leaf is generally regarded as safe (GRAS) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.  There are no established supplement or food interactions with this herb. The Therapeutic Research Center states that it is safe for most people to consume orally and appropriately in amounts normally found in foods.

The organization does recommend, however, that pregnant and nursing women avoid using the herb because there is insufficient data regarding its safety. They also advise that the herb may cause problems for people taking lithium and that those with cardiovascular disease exercise caution when using linden leaf.

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